Sarah-Jane Perry will make her first British Open appearance later today on her 22nd birthday, after storming through yesterday’s qualifying rounds at St Georges Hill Lawn Tennis Club, Weybridge.
The Birmingham-born Englishwoman will face the experienced No9 seed Natalie Grinham in the first round of the $95K WSA Allam British Open Squash Championships, following assertive four-game wins over higher ranked Siti Munriah Jusoh of Malaysia and Aisling Blake of Ireland in qualifying.
Fellow home-hope Lauren Briggs also joins the English contingent in round one, after dispatching fellow Brit Victoria Temple Murray and Maud Duplomb of France in confident straight-games. The world No33 will now face 11th seed Samantha Teran of Mexico.
It wasn’t all plain sailing for those on home soil however, as European Junior Under 19 champion Emily Whitlock crashed out at the hand of Maria Toor Pakay. Ranked 35 places below Whitlock, the Pakistani 21-year-old had previously beaten Lucie Fialova in a similar upset in qualifying round one, and will now line up against World No1 and top seed Nicol David in what will no doubt be the biggest match of her career.
Canadian Samantha Cornett also caused an upset in the qualifying finals after beating the experienced Dane, Line Hansen in four games. Thrilled with her win, and facing the prospect of playing No4 seed Madeline Perry in the main draw, Cornett tweeted after her match: “Huge win for me today, can’t wait for the toughest match of my career so far tomorrow!”
Egypt’s first round numbers were strengthened by the inclusion of world No27, Heba El Torky who overcame Joshna Chinappa of India in feisty four-game battle. El Torky will face Australian Donna Urquhart in round one.
Latasha Khan eased her way through to the main draw after experienced wins over Tesni Evans of Wales and Kylie Lindsay of New Zealand. Despite a 66-minute battle with Evans on Sunday afternoon, the WSA tour veteran showed little sign of fatigue as she took just 24-minutes to dispatch Lindsay and begin preparations for her round one match with third seed Laura Massaro.
Finally, there was mixed news for the French players as Coline Aumard came from a game behind to beat Siyoli Waters of South Africa, although national compatriot Laura Pompartes succumbed to defeat after a slow start against experienced Swiss, Gaby Huber. Aumard will face New Zealand international and 12th seed Joelle King, whilst Huber faces No7 seed Annie Au of Hong Kong.
Play continues at St Georges Hill this afternoon from midday, before moving to the O2 Arena on Wednesday to showcase the rest of the tournament.
First round draw: Nicol David (MAS) v [Q] Maria Toor Pakay (PAK) Samantha Teran (MEX) v [Q] Lauren Briggs (ENG) Rachael Grinham (AUS) v Emma Beddoes (ENG) Joelle King (NZL) v [Q] Coline Aumard (FRA) Laura Massaro (ENG) v [Q] Latasha Khan (USA) Natalie Grinham (NED) v [Q] Sarah-Jane Perry (ENG) Kasey Brown (AUS) v Jaclyn Hawkes (NZL) Camille Serme (FRA) v Sarah Kippax (ENG) Low Wee Wern (MAS) v Alison Waters (ENG) Annie Au (HKG) v [Q] Gaby Huber (SUI) Nour El Sherbini (EGY) v Joey Chan (HKG) Madeline Perry (IRL) v [Q] Samantha Cornett (CAN) Dipika Pallikal (IND) v Omneya Abdel Kawy (EGY) Raneem El Weleily (EGY) v Amanda Sobhy (USA) Donna Urquhart (AUS) v [Q] Heba El Torky (EGY) Jenny Duncalf (ENG) v Delia Arnold (MAS)